As the US Mint was to begin selling the Bald Eagle Commemorative Coins, the Mint announced that their online catalog is out of service. According to the Mint, they suspended service on the web “due to an unanticipated transition in online ordering operations.” On Friday, January 18, the Mint announced that they would be working through the weekend to restore service.

While the Mint’s catalog site is down, customers can place and check orders via their toll-free telephone line 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468) from 8:00 a.m. through midnight (ET) daily. Hearing- and speech-impaired customers may place orders and inquiries through TTY at 1-888-321-MINT (6468), Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (ET).

When I am not writing about or collecting coins, I work for a non-profit company that helps the federal government with their information technology challenges. Although my specialty is information security, my background includes time as a project manager. Experience has taught me that when dealing with systems that are significant to an organization’s mission, transition plans must be in place to prevent these types of outages. At the very least, ensure the transition is completed before expecting significant usage—such as at the time when a new product is released!

I do not know what the caused this outage. But in my experience in working with the government, the cause is manifested from bad planning and the surprise oh… that should not have happened moment. After the US Mint and the Department of the Treasury is under significant scrutiny by congressional oversight, one would hope they would do better.

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